If you go into a meeting unprepared, the likelihood of that meeting going well is slim. The same applies to a workplace emergency. Making sure that your Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is well thought out and up to date is a major factor when determining how quickly your business will be able to bounce back after an emergency situation takes place.
Constructing an EAP
When you set out to construct an EAP, you should keep in mind that while you need to be thorough, it is also important to keep it simple. All instructions should be clear and precise so that no matter who is reading them, they will make perfect sense.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your EAP:
- All Hazards Approach- These are the various hazards you should base your EAP around. The All Hazards Approach includes loss of facility, loss or failure of information technology, reduced workforce, or a reputational event.
- List the location of important utility shutoffs-In order to keep things moving quickly, it is a good idea to list off the locations of utility shutoffs, should that need to happen. If the shutoffs are located in a vague location, it would be a good idea to include (laminated) pictures in written EAPs or add pictures to the EAP file, if electronic.
- Conduct drills (or tabletop exercises) periodically to ensure all employees know what to do in various emergency situations– It is important that all of the employees have reviewed the EAP and have practiced what to do in the event of an emergency. It is possible that an emergency could happen when the employer is out of the office, so the staff needs to be self-sufficient should disaster strike.
- Keep your EAP stored electronically, but also have hard copies readily available- Unless you have 10 or fewer employees, it is required by law that the EAP be written down. It is always best to have important documents (such as this) saved in multiple locations that are accessible to the whole office.
What should I plan for when creating my EAP?
When writing your EAP you need to factor in many different potential hazard situations such as:
- Geological hazards (earthquake, landslide, etc.)
- Meteorological hazards (flood, drought, snow, windstorm, etc.)
- Biological hazards (foodborne illnesses, pandemic disease, etc.)
- Human caused accidental events (fire, structural collapse, hazardous material spill, etc.)
- Human caused intentional events (hostage incident, bomb threat, terrorism, etc.)
- Technology caused events (utility interruption, electrical power, sewerage system, etc.)
Since there are so many different hazards that can disrupt a workday, creating an EAP and keeping it updated can be a long and challenging process, especially for larger companies. The all hazards approach mentioned earlier helps to make sure that you cover all of your bases instead of focusing on each possible hazard. This way, the plan is more condensed and can be used for any potential business disruption that may affect your company. Thankfully, there are companies such as Preparis that are able to be your all-in-one solution, which can make the process a lot more time-efficient and less stressful.
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